Snakes in the Coop

On Gopher Snakes: "In the wild, their diet consists of small mammals, birds and eggs." -Melissa Kaplan

The question is, what is considered small? A Lily? A Liam?

Last week started with a little excitement. I had sent the kids out back to play while I started making dinner. A few moments later, Aidan came running in, his two sisters at his heels, and he said, "Mom, there's a snake out there!"

Thinking I was playing along I said, "Really? A real snake? Show me."

Aidan and the girls opened the door and I said, "Ok, let's go look." No sooner had we stepped out when I saw a foot-and-a-half long snake slithering across the patio.

"ACK! It's a REAL real snake!" I said, gathering the kids back into the house as quickly as I could and shutting the door behind us.

"Yeah, I told you it was real," Aidan said.

"OK, but I thought you were kidding," I replied. "You guys stay here, I have to go see what kind it is."

"It's a rattlesnake," Aidan said confidently. (Well, duh! Aren't they all?)

I stepped back outside, not wanting to startle the snake but wanting to get close enough to view it. I followed it for a few moments, ran back in to check out snakes on the internet, determined it must be a young gopher snake (you know, the snake that LOOKS like a rattlesnake, acts like a rattlesnake but can't kill you like a rattlesnake) and then decided I would get a shovel and try to catch it and throw it over the fence. (Hee hee, even the thought of that now cracks me up...I couldn't even bury a dead rabbit...like I am going to catch a live snake! With a shovel! I mean, all snakes are venomous, right dad? But I sure felt safer with that big ol' shovel in hand!)

Back out with the shovel I realized that Mr. Snake was headed toward the fence anyway. Maybe he would just leave quietly, no scene. So I slowly crept behind, glad to see he was headed to the end of the patio and toward the fence. And just when I thought we were in the clear, he peeked his head into a very miniscule hole in the wall of the house (where the stucco meets the patio tile) and IN HE WENT! 

And just like that, our backyard is closed to all small mammals. Didn't see that comin'! 

(And yes, I did look on the inside of our house to make sure there were no holes in our walls he could get through....hey, you call it crazy, I call it precautious. After all, one mustn't let a snake into the coop.)

We hope that this week starts off a little less exciting!

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